How often have we felt anxious and decided to hide it from others? If we ask ourselves why we need to hide our true feelings, the answer will resonate. We are all secretly afraid of being judged or looked down upon. Anxiety or any other mental turmoil or condition has the power to damage you beyond your imagination. Contrary to popular belief, anxiety has nothing to do with personal failures or successes. This is predominantly what Netflix’s new documentary, “Lewis Capaldi: How I’m Feeling Now,” is all about.
You might know who Lewis Capaldi is. For those who do not know, he is a Scottish singer-songwriter whose first album was on the UK’s Top List for two consecutive years. The documentary takes us through the very honest and heart-melting journey of Lewis’s first album’s success and the making of the second. Throughout the entire documentary, we see the very raw and true feelings that Lewis felt. Also, it felt very personal at certain points.
Lewis Capaldi: Childhood, Career, And The Global Pandemic
Although the documentary makes abundant use of adult language and adult jokes, it never crosses a certain threshold The one-and-a-half-hour journey is more like reading through his personal diary or witnessing him from very close quarters. The journey definitely centers around Lewis, but it also highlights his family, his friends, his manager, and, of course, the pandemic.
The story begins with the huge success of Lewis. It is not every day that a debut album becomes so popular that it sells over ten million copies worldwide. As we walk through his journey, it is pleasant to see that all that fame has not changed him. Lewis is like any other person of his age, born in 1996, a man approaching 30; he feels everything deeply. His parents, while they talked about his young days, were thrilled. Lewis, as his mother says, is a hilarious man who laughs and cracks jokes at every possible moment. If we look through his Instagram account, we sure do know how true his mother’s words are.
Lewis wanted to pursue music from a very young age, and he was inspired by his elder brother. His parents were immensely supportive, as they found Lewis practicing for hours and then perform it before them. His father recalled how he used to be his chauffeur for each of his gigs and performances, and he was happy to do so. Lewis also said that even after his hit singles and albums, his parents are still his first audience. Although he had moved from his parent’s garage to his recording studio, he still messages them first.
The year 2020 was a tough one for everyone. Each day felt like a war—new challenges, new struggles, and constant worry about survival. Things were not looking good for Lewis either. He moved back to his hometown and started living with his family. He did not particularly have a strained relationship with his parents, but it was not a lot of fun living under the same roof either. There were differences in points of view as well. Lewis seemed to be annoyed a lot, but he never took it out on his parents.
We see Lewis meeting with his childhood friends over drinks and discussing life like anyone would when they are twenty-five. Most of us grow up believing that we will have our lives all sorted out by the age of 25. Unfortunately, stability and success have no definite timeline. The group of old friends reunites and discusses similar topics and fears as any of us. You must wonder why Lewis was concerned. This is when we get an idea of how anxious he actually is.
Imposter Syndrome And Panic Attacks
Suppressed anxiety travels through the body and makes it difficult for us to do any normal activity. Lewis was suffering from imposter syndrome, and he had a talk about it with his friends, Ed Sheeran and Elton John. They were immensely supportive and kept motivating him. But Lewis could not shake off the feeling, and he started having panic attacks.
Panic attacks were very severe for him. His body used to shake uncontrollably each time he had a performance coming up, or there was pressure to write a new song. Lewis wanted to create good music, and he had, but the voices in his head kept telling him otherwise. Battling with these voices felt like an impossible task with all the pressure he had taken upon himself. The urge to be famous, the hunger for good work, and finally, the desire not to be an imposter was slowly killing him from the inside. His parents, manager, and friends kept asking him to do something about his uncontrolled twitches and tics. But he kept denying help in hopes that they would eventually go away. Finally, on one of his tours, he couldn’t keep singing; the crowd and the stage were putting too much pressure on him, and he had the worst anxiety attack.
The Ending: Tourette Syndrome, Break, And A Powerful Comeback
After the hellish experience at the concert, Lewis was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and began receiving treatments. It was when he started therapy that he finally spoke his heart out. His songs and his anxiety were part of his childhood memories. Having lost his grandmother and a close aunt in very close succession, this greatly impacted him. His mother never spoke about the song that he wrote for his aunt. But the lyrics were so powerful, and it was everything that his mother would ask his aunt (he, too, might have similar things to ask her).
His aunt suffered mentally for a long time and committed suicide. During the interview, his mother breaks down while talking about not being able to help her sister (Lewis’s aunt). Now, seeing her son suffering from anxiety and imposter syndrome, she was in a difficult position.
Lewis’s team and his parents decided that he would take a break from writing and singing songs, for they were his trigger points. Earlier in the documentary, there was a heated argument between his parents. It was because his father mentioned his twitches and tics, which triggered him more. But after completely focusing on his mental health and taking a break, Lewis knew it was his life. He finally accepted that he is the one who has to put the pressure on himself and is the one who has to combat it. He decides to fight, and finally, we see the funny and fabulous Lewis Capaldi winning hearts at number-one position again.
The documentary discusses what most people hide. Lewis’s condition, when it was unknown, was criticized as a side effect of drug use. He has been judged, and lost confidence, but he still strives to survive Mental stability is the most important fuel for life. So, it does not matter if you are a celebrity or a commoner; your mental health comes first. So speak up, seek therapy, and don’t be your own enemy.